In a bizarre twist to the endurance “ringer” scandal, H&H has discovered that as the Marmoog horse swap was occurring at the Euston Park world championships in 2012, investigators were already on site in connection with a separate switch.
The FEI’s Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) visited the Suffolk venue to question people who might have evidence of a mid-ride horse swap at Numana, Italy, two months before.
But while the FEI recently announced that the Marmoog case had collapsed on a legal technicality, it declined to discuss Numana, referring H&H to the ECIU, who also declined to comment.
The two Marmoogs were competed by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum junior. Now it has emerged that his brother, Sheikh Juma Dalmook [pictured above, number 33] was extensively photographed on two different chestnuts during separate loops at Numana. Pictures of “Pang” and his alleged substitute have been available on the website of photographer Cidihna Franzao.
The alleged Numana swap was reported to the FEI by David Holmes, former chief executive of British Dressage and sports director of the Italian Equestrian Federation at the time.
“I went to Numana the following morning to check on the Italian horses,” said Mr Holmes.
“Several people told me there had been a swap, so I called Ian Williams [head of FEI endurance at the time] and he said he would tell Quest [who service the ECIU].
“I was certainly surprised when we heard no more.”
The Euston Park and Numana organising committees both contained a large number of Maktoum employees.
The FEI recently introduced measures to combat horse identification fraud and conflict of interest among officials. At the FEI General Assembly last month, the UAE delegate Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, unsuccessfully requested “relief” from the latter.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 15 January 2015